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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

174       HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

and the closing years of his life were chiefly spent in Switzerland
in the misery of constant controversy in which as a moderate
man he found himself in opposition to both parties.

In spite of the distractions due to his own weak health and
the troubles of the times, he wrote a large number of books on
a wide range of topics.   His writings on education, though but
one part of his literary output, illustrate the variety of his genius.
They included satirical works like his famous Praise of Folly,
which held up to scorn the scholastics and grammarians, as
well as treatises on educational principles and methods, and
textbooks for schools.   His association with Dean Colet in the
founding of St. Paul's School was responsible for several of these,
For the use of the scholars, he made the final revision of the
Latin grammar compiled by Lily, the first headmaster of the school,
and himself wrote several Carmina, A Condo de Puero Jesu, a
textbook of phrases as a groundwork of Latin composition
entitled De Copia Rerum et Verborum, a textbook of Latin syntax
based on Donatus, and a treatise on The Education of a Christian
Man (Institutio Christiani hominis).   At the same time he wrote
for a wider public On the Right Method of Instruction (De Ratione
Studii).   This keen interest in the education of the young con-
tinued unabated all through his life, and his later writings include
two of his most important educational works—his well-known
Colloquies, a textbook of Latin conversations on contemporary
life, and a treatise On the Liberal Education of Boys from the
Beginning (De pueris statim ac liberaliter instituendis), his most
complete exposition of the principles of humanistic education.
Erasmus was a thorough-going cosmopolitan in practice and
in faith.   Speaking only Latin and his native Dutch, he was
equally at home among the scholars of Holland, France, England,
Germany and Italy.   And though the spirit of nationality was
everywhere dominant, he had no sympathy with the differences
between countries and no interest in the vernacular literatures.
His ideal was the establishment throughout Europe of a common
culture which would derive both the substance of its knowledge
and its linguistic media from the great literatures of Greece
and Rome,   It was not only that he found in the language of
the best Latin writers a more admirable means for the conveyance
of every form of human thought than any existing language;
but he regarded the social and political institutions of the ancients